Monday, September 12, 2011

Self-Taught Superheroes, Part Nine

One of the things they never really tell you about being a superhero is how boring it gets.

I know, not exactly the best way to begin another installment of my wild superheroic adventures, right? But it's true. When Batman or Spider-Man go out "on patrol", they always run into power-mad supervillains or rampaging monsters or cosmic weirdness. At the very least, they get to whale on some muggers or rapists. But you don't really hear much about the issue where Spider-Man wanders around the city all night and doesn't see anybody and he finds out the next day on the news that a burglary happened six blocks away from him and he missed it.

All of which is by way of pointing out that when I was asleep, my subconscious compressed about six weeks of patrolling and dullness and really minor crimes into a sort of weird jumble that felt like it took no time at all, and it was already the next time I fought Lord Raptor's men. Which, believe it or not, happened at the supermarket.

I mean, in retrospect, it kind of makes sense. You're feeding a small army of mercenaries, you're trying to keep from establishing any kind of paper trail that would lead back to you, and you have no scruples about stealing...of course you're going to raid supermarkets for supplies. It was the Lord Raptor way of doing things, really. Never buy what you can take. And lucky me, I just happened to be out picking up dinner at the exact store they attacked. (Dinner...and twinkies. And Kool-Aid. And pixie stix. My pixie stix budget is roughly a hundred bucks a month.)

The first sign was the sound of stun cannons. They make a sound that you'll never forget once you hear it, a sort of cross between a bass string twanging and an elephant getting a suppository. The second I heard it, I knew. I raced into the women's room, pulled on my costume...

But one of the nice things about experiencing the world in "hummingbird time" is that you have a good long chance to think things over in a crisis. And what I thought about was the fact that Lord Raptor had a lot of men. And a lot of ships, too. Stopping these guys from raiding this supermarket would just mean a half-dozen guys who went to jail for about a week before they got broken out, and maybe Lord Raptor would go hungry for a few days until he went and raided a supermarket where I wasn't. And I'd be spending weeks waiting to be in the right place at the right time. I had to come up with a better plan than that.

So instead of beating up Lord Raptor's thugs, I sprinted down the aisles, darted across the checkout counters during the split-seconds when Lord Raptor's men were distracted by a would-be hero who wound up with thirteen stitches across his chin where he hit the floor after falling asleep in mid-stride, used the pallets that Lord Raptor's men were already loading as cover, flung myself into the cargo hold, and ducked behind a stack of industrial-size jars of barbecue sauce. It took me about two seconds.

I should mention that one of the lousy things about experiencing the world in "hummingbird time" is that I'm impulsive and prone to making decisions that I regret much faster than an ordinary person is capable of. But by then, it was too late; a huge pallet of uncooked rice got shoved in next to me, and I didn't really have any choice but to stay where I was while they loaded the rest of the cargo bay and took off.

In "hummingbird time", I had roughly the equivalent of six weeks to think of a plan for what to do when they unloaded all this stuff and saw me.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've really been loving this story. Hummingbird is freakin' adorable.